Last month, I had the pleasure of participating in a Marketing Panel for NAWBO (the National Association of Women Business Owners). It was great to connect with so many business owners who are working hard to propel their brand to success, now and well into the future. However, marketing a small business on a limited budget can be a challenging task. It is time you stop making excuses and get the word out about your business. If you’re a small business owner looking for marketing advice, you have come to the right place. Here’s what you need to know.
Define Your Purpose
If you want to achieve marketing goals, you will need to define your purpose. Dedicate time and effort to meaningful tasks that will get results and create awareness about your brand. When you know what direction to steer your company in, marketing it in an effective manner will never be daunting again. For example, if your company offers technology services, clearly determine its purpose as solving a particular problem for a specified audience.
Define and Qualify Your Target with Narrow Terms
It doesn’t matter WHAT you sell if you don’t know WHO to sell it to. Once you are able to clearly define your target audience, you will find it easier to sell valuable goods and services that will prove to be meaningful for them. As small businesses usually have limited resources, use narrow terms to define your target audience. This will allow you to target more people at the same time. Many chief executives answer the question “who is your customer?” as everyone. Everyone is a bad answer unless your company has the financial resources to reach everyone. Until you have a budget like a major corporation, you need to be far more selective to achieve a decent marketing return on investment.
Proper and Effective Message Development
It is crucial you develop effective key messages for your target audience; this enables you to control your communications and get your message across more effectively and efficiently. Your message should be irresistible enough to catch the attention of the skimming reader, website visitor, or looker. Compelling messages create curiosity. The goal of marketing is to stop the reader and create enough curiosity to take action.
Focus on questions like “what does your brand mean?” and “what does your company stand for?”. Use powerful terms when describing your services such as: Superior quality, excellent selection, convenient, and unrivaled. These terms will help communicate your brand’s values to the people in a powerful way. If you make a claim of superior service be prepared to tell why your service or product is better or unrivaled.
Plan Your Budget
A true marketing plan depends on the defined budget. A detailed plan and budget are two of the most foolproof ways to make sure your money is being effectively spent on developing comprehensive marketing strategies. Sticking to a well-defined budget will ensure you don’t waste your resources and spend your marketing funds appropriately and wisely. Even as a small business owner, you should think of your marketing budget as an investment and not a cost. If spent wisely, your efforts can bring a quantifiable return on your investment.
Once you have come up with an effective strategy and a well-defined budget and time line, it is time to focus on distribution. Use channels that will help you get your message into the hearts and minds of your target audience. While using social media is among the most cost-effective ways to reach people, care and consideration must be given to whether social media is reaching only people who have absolutely no interest in what you are selling. If you continually work on building a strong social media following, you can consistently deliver your message to thousands of people using YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, and Twitter at a fraction of the cost of traditional media outlets. These are a few basics for any small business to carefully consider.